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Posts Tagged ‘prisons’

I can’t breathe.  –  Marvin Scott III, probably

Most of these “songs in old languages” things aren’t very good, but this one was too appropriate to pass up!  It was provided by Emma Evans, and the links above it by Yasmin Nair, Dan Savage, Mistress Matisse, Kevin Wilson, Cop Crisis, Mike Riggs, and Dan Savage again, in that order.

From the Archives

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The group should exist for the individual, not the other way around.  –  Remi Adekoya

Tyrants and other violent busybodies simply adore collectivism, the evil belief that individals only have value as part of groups, and that it’s good and moral to crush, process, cook, and compress individuals until they are unidentifiable parts of a homogeneous whole, like individual fruit processed into “fruit roll-up” sheets.  The reason is of course the same for the monsters as it is for the snack companies:  such amalgams are handled, stored and used more efficiently than the individuals from which they’re made.  Caligula is said to have expressed this principle of tyranny as, “Would that the Roman people had but one neck!” and China’s campaign of homogenization is the stuff of dystopian science fiction.  But if you believe such abominations could never happen in the modern West, you haven’t been paying attention:

Polarisation cements groups while pressurising the individual…the stifling atmosphere of our current race debate…submerges the individual in generalisations and elevates groupism…[we are encouraged to use] grand generalisations…[and] sweeping concepts  to interpret our world – a world in which we don’t realistically live as individuals…the desire to be treated as individuals, not nameless members of this or that group, is a pretty universal one.  I find it difficult to imagine there are people of any ethnic or racial background who do not want to be viewed primarily as individuals, including those most responsible for popularising the sweeping groupist language of our times…So why then has language obscuring our individuality taken such a strong hold in what is supposed to be an age of empathy?  After all, to empathise requires, by definition, seeing a human individual, not a group or statistic…

Yet governments are working to pound members of minority groups into uniform sheets, in part by convincing them that individuality is not only bad but characteristic of bigots; meanwhile, members of other groups are coerced and brainwashed into accepting the most odious form of collectivism, collective guilt, and forced to undergo public humiliation rituals in order to be shriven from a form of original sin imposed not on all people by a deity, but rather on only some people by virtue of their sharing some tiny amount of DNA with other deeply-flawed human beings they’ve never met:

…Australia has [adopted] America’s particularly malignant approach to sexual disharmony…Brauer College in rural Victoria [recently] forced its male pupils, some only 12 years old, to stand at a school assembly, face the girls and apologize for rape, sexual harassment and all the other facets of male wickedness…as [part of] some ghastly effort to promote gender reconciliation through gender self-incrimination…
Governments have been working on imposing conformity and groupthink since the latter half of the 19th century, with fascist and communist regimes in particular elevating the process to a science.  It has never ended well for any of those regimes, and it will not end well for the West either; the American prison industry purees and processes wholesome and vile foodstuffs together into a barely-edible mass called “nutraloaf“, and attempting to process human beings together in a similar way will accomplish nothing but turning all of society into one vast prison.

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There’s no public safety value in prosecuting these low-level offenses.  –  Marilyn Mosby

Policing Womanhood

Scratch a SWERF, find a TERF:

In a t[oxic] essay for the [carceral] feminist website 4W, Donna M Hughes wrote that the “belief” that a person could change their gender was a “trans-sex fantasy”.  She went on to equate followers of QAnon, [the latest form of the “sex trafficking”] web of lies that [Hughes vigorously supports]…to people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were given at birth…Her inflammatory comments were called “beyond the pale” by Annie Russell, the director of the [University of Rhode Island]’s Gender and Sexuality Center…Russell said the diatribe had also angered students at the university, which [also employs Hughes as a tenured professor]…The University…put out a statement distancing itself from Hughes’s comments…In response Hughes said her right to free speech was being trampled [even though she was neither fired, nor censored, nor arrested as she wants others to be]…

For those who don’t recall: Hughes considers herself a political conservative and was the architect of recriminalizing sex work in Rhode Island in 2009.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#845) 

I haven’t seen this once-popular fantasy since 2018:

A recent 60 Minutes+ episode cites a dubious claim that “up to 100,000” children are sex-trafficked in the U.S. each year…the inimitable Maggie McNeill once wrote that there are “lies, damn lies and sex trafficking statistics.” Now 60 Minutes+, a streaming version of the venerable news program, is helping to make McNeill’s point by highlighting an oft-debunked sex trafficking factoid…in the show’s March 21 episode, “Taking Facebook to Court”…

Social Distancing (#1025)

When this was announced a year ago, prohibitionists claimed it would be a disaster:

…[When] the coronavirus pandemic hit…State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that [Baltimore] would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus.  And then crime went down in Baltimore.  A lot…This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city’s criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby’s office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants…So…Mosby is making her temporary steps permanent …Baltimore…will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car…

Let’s hope this “aggressively reaching out” doesn’t involve surveillance or “diversion”, which is just another form of state control.  But in any case, this is becoming a trend.

Welcome to the Future (#1107)

Everything I read about modern corporate work makes me happier I became a whore:

Amazon delivery drivers nationwide have to sign a “biometric consent” form…that grants the tech behemoth permission to [monitor]…drivers’ location, movement, and biometric data.  If the…drivers…refuse to sign these forms, they lose their jobs.  The…[surveillance includ]es…facial recognition…The company [claims the surveillance is] being used to improve “safety” and the “quality of the delivery experience.”  But…some drivers are quitting their jobs…because…the [surveillance device even records]…when a driver yawns, appears distracted, or isn’t wearing a seatbelt…and monitor[s] drivers’ body and facial movements…

Torture Chamber (#1122)

If only there were a concise word for “systematically forced to have sex”:

The [murder] of a 19-year-old woman [by] Venezuela[n] police [in a] holding cell has revealed that women in the jail were being systematically forced to have sex with [cops]…On March 13, Daniela Geraldine Figueredo Salazar died from [being]…shot [in] the face…by [a cop]…several of her fellow [prisoners] reported [to investigating officials] that they were being [systematically raped]…the…abuse was being coordinated by a [typical and representative cop] who is also currently jailed…This is not the first [time news] of sexual violence [has leaked out of] the country’s [filthy cage stacks]…In 2018, it was reported that women in Venezuelan prisons were being forced to [submit to rape] in order to be released for court hearings…in 2019, a report by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights pointed to…various forms of sexual violence [committed by cops, screws and spooks]…

You Were Warned (#1124)

Cathy Reisenwitz examines a power-hungry politician’s lies about the internet:

…The SAFE TECH Act would…hold companies liable for their users’ behavior…[an]d force small websites to spend $1 million or more…to prove to courts that users aren’t causing any one of nine new types of broad, ill-defined harm…Only the wealthiest, most powerful companies would be able to afford setting their own content moderation policies.  Everyone else would run the real risk of being sued into oblivion by wealthy people who don’t like what people are saying about them online…Like SESTA/FOSTA, the SAFE TECH Act would make it easier for those in power to stifle unpopular speech across the web.  It would strip away Section 230 protections for any web service that “has accepted payment to make the speech available.”  While many believe the law applies only to paid advertising, it’s written so broadly that it would apply to all content on any platform where money changes hands, including…all paid web hosting and even nonprofits or activist groups that sell merch or accept donations…

Predictable Consequences (#1124)

My friend Kate Zen, cofounder of Red Canary Song:

While it’s easy to repudiate th[e Atlanta shooter]’s actions as that of a monster, he isn’t alone in his views.  Many Americans feel only disdain toward these businesses, and have little respect for the women who work there…On Piedmont Road in Atlanta, where Long shot customers and workers at Gold Spa and Aroma Therapy Spa, church groups previously gathered to protest this so-called red-light district, demanding the shutdown of the sex shop across the street…many Asian street-based sex workers…in [Red Canary Song’s] outreach said some of the religious anti-trafficking groups…can be even more hurtful than the pedestrians who call them names…[besides] collaborat[ing] with police…[one said] they were “nagging her and wasting her time” when she needed to work…Long’s extreme actions are a consequence of the way we treat all sexuality in society…and…the people who are tasked with undoing the harms are often infected by the same dangerous ideas…

Dr. Elena Shih also works with Red Canary Song:

…anti-trafficking organizations…have [repeatedly] called for the increased surveillance and policing of massage businesses, and the result has been hundreds of raids across the country which have terrorized and criminalized massage workers.  These systemic forms of violence cannot be divorced from the brutal killings of massage parlor workers in the Atlanta area on March 16…When my colleagues and I talk to Asian massage workers, they often share stories of [cops] entering their workplaces at random under the guise of stopping sex trafficking.  When they don’t find any evidence of wrongdoing, they demand to see massage licenses.  Workers tell us they are frequently arrested if they don’t produce a license, or are hit with building code or public health violations.  Those who are arrested are often funneled through special courts and programs where workers, seen as morally flawed and traumatized victims, are offered programming framed as rehabilitation…[including] everything from religious proselytization to “recovery-focused yoga” to unpaid labor, when what they really need is economic security…

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This guy lay in shit and…died in [a] cell that looks like a friggin’ horse stall.  –  unnamed investigator

Imagination Pinned Down

Like seeing pictures in clouds or inkblots:

When the unrecognizable body of Jeannette DePalma…was found atop a…wooded hill…called the Devil’s Teeth in 1972, rumors spread quickly that the [16-year-old] was killed in some sort of satanic rite…Police…[claim]ed…they had found signs they thought might be related to the occult, including crosses made of sticks and branches arranged in a coffin-like outline around her body…But crime scene photographs released for the first time [last month]…debunk those claims, showing that DePalma’s body was simply lying in a dense, brushy area…facedown with an arm draped over a downed tree branch…Jason Coy, a history professor…who researches witchcraft…said he can’t find any sign of the occult or any other symbolism in the jumble of brush and branches.  It suggests that investigators, looking for something sinister, saw patterns that weren’t there…“Everything in th[e police] sketch that was marked out as a cross, in these crime scene photos just looks like a pile of underbrush…it’s a perfect example of how…i[f] someone…[has] the idea that something could be occult, they remember things that way”…

The Naked Anthropologist

Here’s Dr. Laura Agustín with GAATW on the rescue industry:

Torture Chamber 

For a change, this journalist doesn’t refer to torture as “correction”:

…Reginald Wilson spent more than 1,300 days in and out of jail since 1997 for charges often related to his fragile mental health…in December 2018 [Georgia cops abducted and caged him] for a probation violation…[dur]ing a mental health crisis…he was [lock]ed in a padded [cell and given no professional help, even after]…he smeared his own feces on the wall.  “He never slept. He was constantly just up, doing almost like gymnastics when you watched the video,” one [screw admitted to]…investigators…Wilson stopped eating, drinking and refused to take medication…[yet] the jail’s psychiatrist never saw [him].  In[stead,] staff [just repeatedly yelled “stop faking” at]…him…[and cop]s tased him at least tw[ice].  After… eight days…a [screw] found Wilson not breathing…[and] covered in…feces…[he had] died from…dehydration…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because a little boy picked a flower”?

[A] 6-year-old…was accused of picking a tulip from a yard at his bus stop, his attorney Julie Boyer said, and…was on trial…for injury to real property.  The boy’s attention span was too short to follow the proceedings…[so] Boyer…handed him crayons and a coloring book…she…and others [explain that] children that age don’t have the mental capacity to understand the juvenile justice process and…can’t make informed decisions…[yet at present North Carolina]…expect[s them to]…”Should a child that believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy be making life-altering decisions?” asked…Judge Jay Corpening…[local] advocates…recommend…the age be raised to 12…The National Juvenile Justice Network recommends 14…

End Demand (#893)

It’s good to see a story like this quote at least one knowledgeable person:

Columbus [Ohio politicians] are weighing changes to local solicitation laws that would emphasize pu…shing [propaganda about] those who pay for sex [in addition to propaganda about] those who sell it…[politician] Mitchell Brown [vomited out popular nonsense about]…sex trafficking…chief [copagandist and rape apologist] Jennifer Knight…[salivated about forcing people into “re-education”] sessions…[but actual] researchers like Jennifer Suchland argue “end demand” policies often backfire…“Because there’s now substantial evidence to show that they are, one, not actually reducing the amount of exploitation, and two, they are increasing the precarity of those people who are in the sex trade”…Suchland says…the “end demand” model is based on a faulty assumption…

Knight is the sow charged with making excuses for the Columbus rape gang, and claims the way to “build trust” with women is to hunt, rape and cage them.

Safe Position (#1058)

Don’t be deceived by Katz, a duplicitous proponent of Swedish criminalization:

Queens, New York, District Attorney Melinda Katz moved…to dismiss nearly 700 cases against people charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution…[on] the same day…Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed [Swedish-style]…criminaliz[ation]…The…law was repealed last month out of concern it too often targeted…people…based solely on their appearance…Katz [followed up by bloviating about]…sex trafficking…

Katz is dismissing these cases because she has to, since the law they were charged under was repealed.  This isn’t some kind of personal move on her part toward sex worker rights, despite claims to the contrary.

Predictable Consequences

Lots of sex workers are quoted in this rebuke of prohibitionist yellow journalism:

The New York Times re[acted to]…the recent slayings of eight persons at three “Asian” spas…by a deranged religious nut…with a self-[indulgent article]…adopting the rhetoric…of…sex work…pro[hibitionists], painting the spas as havens for sex trafficking…without one quote from sex workers or sex worker rights advocates, the Times piece [claim]s that “experts say there are more than 9,000 such businesses” in the U.S. which are “fronts for prostitution,” and that “many of the women working there are being exploited.”  That dubious statistic hails from a particularly odious non-profit, the Polaris Project, which has long conflated consensual adult sex work with sex trafficking and has a history of dealing in fake statistics and urban legends…Massage workers…have no agency, nor any voice, in this scheme or this article…

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Expungement…is an intentionally fairly hard process.  –  Sasha Naiman

What the Hell Were You Thinking?

Ally Deviant Ollam on internet security for sex workers:

End Demand (#586)

A thorough analysis of the awfulness of “end demand” policies from the superlative Savannah Sly:

Combined with fear and ignorance, simple stories can be powerful propaganda vehicles used to justify state oppression…End Demand suggests that cutting off cash flow to the sex trade economy will discourage profiteering exploiters, and force sex workers to find “real” jobs.  However…sex workers…don’t respond to a reduction of business by simply deciding to “quit the industry” and go get full time corporate jobs with a company car and a full benefits package.  The notion that tough times will motivate people who sell sex to simply move on to greener pastures is absurd, privileged, and fails completely to comprehend the reasons why people become sex trade involved in the first place.  In reality, End Demand is a form of economic siege that’s had catastrophic consequences on sex worker welfare.  Ham fisted and reckless, End Demand tactics have increased instability and scarcity in the sex trade, fostering circumstances ripe for exploitation…

It Looks Good On Paper (#746)

This time they actually admit this shit law is designed to put people through hell:

Bipartisan bills about to be introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate would allow [people branded] sex trafficking victims [by the state] to [beg] courts to expunge past crimes even if they had not been convicted of prostitution or related offenses…[bill sponsor] Teresa Fedor [bloviated nonsense about being]…“forced to steal or sell drugs for their trafficking”…and [seems to imagine that]…use of the internet, cell phones, and massage parlors [have only become part of sex work since the last Ohio bloviation about the topic in 2018.  Another bureaucrat]…noted applicants must [somehow] prove they had been trafficked and that the crimes they are seeking to have expunged resulted from that…“Frankly, it’s a fairly heavy burden on the survivor, but [we want them to prove that they are inert dolls without agency rather than bad girls who had bills to pay]”…

Negative Secondary Effects (#974)

This pro-censorship screed is so larded with dysphemisms barely any escaped my editing:

Bristol is set to become the biggest city in the [UK] to ban lap-dancing clubs in a move [prohibitionists] claim will [magically rewrite the neural pathways in human brains.  Politicians bloviated a lot of tabula rasa nonsense about sex rays causing]…violence against women…Not Buying It, which [publishes revenge porn of sex workers], said councils had a duty to pr[event consensual] sex…

Torture Chamber (#1039)

Your regular reminder that rapist screws are not confined to the US:

Canadian prisons…do…not keep track of employees [who rape prisoners]…The problem is also fueled by the [refusal] to believe prisoners when they [report rapes]…In recent years [only] three guards have been charged with sex crimes a[lthough the actual number of rapes is dramatically higher]…

The Next Target

Prohibitionists’ next target isn’t just Pornhub; it’s all online sex work:

Germany’s most vocal proponent of state censorship, an obscure local bureaucrat named Tobias Schmid who serves as the head of the State Media Authority (LMA) of North Rhine-Westphalia, has announced…his [animosity toward]…OnlyFans…“We are registering that OnlyFans…are [sic] increasingly attracting erotic providers…and we will take care of it,” Schmid ominously warned…Schmid…like…fellow War on Porn crusaders worldwide, claim[s] his campaigns have a purpose to “protect the children,” although with the German twist that he is proudly an obsessive of “Ordnung” (order)…

You Were Warned (#1108)

Prohibitionists, censors and profiteers will continue to harass businesses thus until FOSTA is overturned:

…a California judge ruled that, although the contracts signed by a former [porn] performer were valid, the arbitration agreements that were part of them should be disregarded…Judge Michael Anello denied a motion by porn studios to implement the arbitration clauses in the contracts signed by a Jane Doe for scenes they had distributed…Doe…briefly worked in the adult industry around 2009-2010.  At the time, she alleges, she was represented by someone named Cissy Steele…[whom she apparently was also involved in an abusive] relationship with…[the pro-censorship group Morality in Media is behind the suit, which]…names a number of adult studios and sites active a decade ago…as co-defendants on the basis that they distributed scenes…Doe [contracted with them to distribute]…

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Socializing is not a luxury.  –  Zeynep Tufekci

Maggie in the Media

Torture Chamber 

Even journalists reporting on these abuses insist on referring to them as “correction”:

…a [few days after being] threat[ened by a New Jersey screw]…Darrell Smith was…[savagely beaten] twice by a g[ang] of [screws.  He]…was tortured, beaten, kicked, punched, stomped…choke[d], slammed to the ground, and had his head slammed into a glass door…he was [then] “denied…medical care…[despite] catastrophic injuries that left him in an unresponsive and catatonic state” in a prison cell covered in his own feces, urine and vomit…[after being left in this state for] four days…Smith…was transported to a hospital…his leg was cuffed to the bed [for two days despite being]…declared brain dead…the family…[filed a] lawsuit…[after finally getting ahold of medical records showing that] Smith “sustained a severe catastrophic brain injury…[due to] the brutal beatings”…

The Enlightenment Police (#884)

The obsession with controlling women cannot be stopped by a mere pandemic:

Swiss voters have approved a ban on…facial coverings…in nearly all…publicly accessible places, including on the streets, in public offices, on public transport, in restaurants, shops and in the countryside.  The controversial proposal [was] support[ed by only] 51.21% of voters…The only exceptions include places of worship…[or] if worn for health and safety reasons, because of the weather and in situations where it is considered a “local custom” to do so, such as at carnivals…There will be no…exceptions…for tourists…[from Muslim countries]…The proposal, put forward by several [authoritarian] groups…has been criticized by a number of…religious organizations…human rights and civic groups, as well as the federal government…

Switzerland in October:  Everybody must cover their faces in public.
Switzerland in March:  Wait, not like that!

You Were Warned (#926)

Indian politicians are just as eager to demolish the internet as those in the US, Australia and Europe:

The Indian government’s new Information Technology rules…have been sold to citizens and the world as being of a piece with global efforts to [control]…social media…platforms now have to…giv[e] the government details about the “originator” of content [that it dislikes]…effectively breaking end-to-end encryption…The rules…also cover digital news organisations and video-streaming platforms like Netflix…giving the government much more power to…censor…The government has made massive changes to the way the internet will work in India, but without having to take the matter to Parliament at all, by amending the rules under pre-existing sections of the law…the government…is…unwilling…to engage with the stakeholders that matter…the rules create a bureaucratic super-structure that gives the executive much more power over…the internet…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#1074)

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

A Denton [Texas cop]…has been arrested…for distribution of child pornography.  David Schoolcraft…[fell into a trap set by the FBI] Dec[ember]…2020…he [i]s…of…c[our]se [still on the payroll, because cop]…

Since the “authorities” prefer to hide the identity of this child molester, here’s a picture of his boss until such time as a photo of Schoolcraft becomes available.

Quiet Genocide (#1081)

The Chinese are now using a method of subjugation invented by the Assyrians:

Chinese authorities have loaded large numbers of Uyghur workers onto trains bound for factories thousands of kilometres away as part of a plan to [forcibly] assimilate Muslim minorities into mainstream Chinese culture and thin their populations in Xinjiang…the…Uyghur workers…[are then forced] in[to “re-education”] programs…that mix Mandarin lessons with in[doctrina]tion by police and Communist Party cadres…the…policies…are designed to sever them from their homes and traditional way of life, moulding them into state-approved members of the “Chinese nation”…

Social Distancing (#1082)

Far too many people adore authoritarian public health schemes:

When the polio vaccine was declared safe and effective, the news was met with jubilant celebration…One might have expected the initial approval of the coronavirus vaccines to spark similar jubilation…But…instead, the steady drumbeat of good news…has been met with a chorus of relentless pessimism…and claims of impending catastrophe…the public has been offered a lot of misguided fretting over new virus variants…and presented with long lists of things vaccinated people still cannot do…Five key fallacies and pitfalls have…played an outsize role in derailing an effective pandemic response…mistrust and paternalism …toward the public…[arbitrary] rules in place of mechanisms…scolding and shaming…absolutism [instead of harm reduction]…and…a poor balance between knowledge, risk, certainty, and action…

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The Swedish model…is driven by Puritanical fantasy rather than reality.  –  Molly Simmons

To Molest and Rape

Cops lie so frequently, they can’t tell which lies are believable:

A [cop] charged with [nothing more serious than] misconduct for [rap]ing a…[drunk] woman [is trying to blame]…her…Lee Cocking…picked [up] the woman…on Christmas Eve, 2017…and…had [sex with her even though she was far too drunk to consent]…he…[claimed] the woman climbed on top of him…[and] he was left feeling violated…

Safe Position (#966)

A group of over 250 social scientists, including Ron Weitzer and Barb Brents, have sent an open letter to the new president and vice-president, calling for them to walk their talk and actually support “science-driven policy” with regard to sex work.  This will, of course, have no more effect than the similar letter sent by Ann Jordan and a dozen other researchers to the Obama Administration in 2011; Biden was one of the chief architects of mass incarceration, and the Swedish-model-supporting Harris’ long history of awfulness has been well-documented in this blog.  However, it’s another pebble in the growing pile which has made supporting sex worker rights a safe position for politicians, and that is a fine and welcome development.

The Cop Myth (#994)

If they actually punished wife-beating cops, they’d lose half of them:

On February 25, Boyce Ballinger was sentenced to 18 months probation after pleading guilty to felony “strangulation” and misdemeanor “domestic battery”.  The court even promised to allow him to expunge his criminal record if he complies with probation.  On October 17 of last year, Ballinger and his wife went to a neighbor’s party…When they came home, his wife asked him about his alcohol consumption.  He responded by attacking her [in a drunken rage]…chok[ing] her…and [slamming] her into a wall.  She ran to a bedroom.  Ballinger followed and banged violently on the door…[after] arrest…[he was] immediately released…without bail…and…ordered not to contact his wife, who filed for divorce shortly thereafter.  He violated this order in December by stalking…her…he was [then] sent to jail to await trial…[at which he was] offered…a plea bargain…

A Broker in Pillage (#1072)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

On March 4, 2015, police in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, stole Malinda Harris’ 2011 Infiniti G37 because [they decided to accuse] her son, Trevice…of selling drugs…the cops never alleged that he used [the car] for drug dealing or that she knew about her son’s illegal activity.  Harris heard nothing more about her purloined property until October 2020…when she was [finally] served with a civil forfeiture complaint that had been prepared the previous January…the unconscionable delay in giving her a chance to recover her car was a due process violation that by itself justifies its immediate return.  Massachusetts invites such abuse…because its civil forfeiture law “does not provide any deadline [by] which the Commonwealth is required to initiate forfeiture proceedings.”  The Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, which represents Harris, cites several other constitutionally questionable aspects of the state’s law, which…is…”the worst…in the country”…In this case, the government[‘s]…evidence [consists entirely of] the title to the Infiniti…”occupancy papers,” two parking tickets, and a “Jiffy Lube receipt”…

Winding Down

Will Washington politicians accept progress, or demonstrate their hypocrisy?

The Washington Supreme Court effectively decriminalized simple drug possession in that state…by overturning a law that made possession a felony without any evidence of intent or knowledge…Washington was the only state that criminalized innocent, unknowing possession of illegal drugs.  The Washington Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the statute…[is] a strict liability crime…[which] the court ha[s at long last recognized]…violates the due process clause of the state and federal constitutions…The state legislature can—and probably will—recriminalize simple possession by amending the statute to include a mens rea element.  A bill [already] introduced…would [do that, but a competing]…bill…would eliminate criminal penalties for possessing “personal use amounts” of drugs…

Social Distancing (#1094)

So many “enlightened” countries still pretend that disease is caused by “sin”:

Baltimore strip venue The Penthouse Club announced…that it has reached a settlement with the city which would allow it to reopen, only days after the club sued…over COVID regulations that…discriminated against adult entertainment…other indoor entertainment venues like bowling alleys and skating rinks were able to reopen…except…strip clubs…

The Course of a Disease (#1109)

One can never have too many anti-Swedish criminalization articles:

…carceral feminists operate under the misguided ideas that all sex work is inherently exploitative; that any sex in exchange for money or goods is rape; and that sex workers are safer in prison than on the streets.  The…legislation…backed by [New York politician] Liz Krueger …is a US adaptation of…Swedish…criminalization…Decades of research have shown that, by targeting and driving underground…participants in the industry, such models increase stigma…discrimination…violence and coercion…They lead to harsher working conditions, higher rates of financial instability and less agency and freedom in our daily lives.  When such a model was enacted in Northern Ireland, 56 percent of sex workers said their work had become more dangerous…[this form of]…criminalization…fails in the same way abstinence-only sex education fails: It centers ​“morality” over material needs…sex worker[s are]…not interested in debate about whether or not the sex industry is a ​“good” thing or whether it ​“should” exist or not…and…the moralizing in [such] legislation…infantilizes sex workers in a deeply patriarchal way…

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative] Brisbane [cop was found guilty]…of sending “sexual and suggestive” messages to a teenage girl he met…[via his] work…in the Inala Child Protection and Investigation Unit…[Matthew Paul Hockley] interviewed the 15-year-old girl in 2019 in relation to a…[sexting] incident…the[n badgered her for weeks with]…a series of [Snapchat] messages that escalated from inoffensive to sexual and inappropriate, which made the girl “increasingly uncomfortable”…[because] the application…automatically delete[s] conversations…the teenager [had to record some of the harassment] with another device…to…show…the court…[Hockley’s] defence lawyer argued h[e] had no sexual interest in the girl, but was in[stead trying to get in] her mother[‘s pants, presumably via a reverse Lolita scheme]…

Child protection unit“.

Quiet Genocide (#1111)

Disgusting men never get tired of blaming women for their own rapes:

China, under growing global pressure over its [atrocities against]…Uighurs in…Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign [of propaganda], including explicit attacks on women who [reported being raped by guards and Communist Party officials]…a growing number of Western [politicians are finally admitting that]…China [is conducting a] genocide…[so] Beijing is focusing on…accus[ing] some of [its female victims of] having affairs and…sexually transmitted disease…as evidence of bad character…the…meticulous and wide-reaching campaign…hints at China’s fears that it is losing control of the Xinjiang narrative…in…[which it refers to mass surveillance, torture, rape, and brainwashing as] “liv[ing] and work[ing] in peace and contentment”…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Eleanor Northington

Grace got some new glasses this week, which means I’ve heard her singing this all week.  And I’m therefore going to share it with you!  The links above it were provided by Radley Balko, Elizabeth N. Brown, Desiree Alliance, Cop Crisis, Jesse Walker, and Clarissa, in that order.

From the Archives

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you.  Because I’m the worst.  –  Larry Flynt

R.I.P. Larry Flynt

The last of the “Big Three” of men’s magazine publishing, Larry Flynt, died of heart failure a week ago today at the age of 78 (Hugh Hefner preceded him in 2017 and Bob Guccione in 2010).  Flynt’s magazine Hustler was (intentionally) the raunchiest of the three, and its brand had the greatest commercial viability in the long run due to its expansion into home video and strip clubs.  As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, infringements of civil liberties always start with those nobody wants to defend, and Flynt intentionally set himself up as a target for censorship attempts by prominently featuring the nasty, the grotesque, and the deliberately offensive, especially in Hustler‘s cartoons and cover art.  He was prosecuted for obscenity several times, always prevailing in the end, and battled fundamentalist blowhard Jerry Falwell all the way to the Supreme Court in the ’80s; after 1978 he was paralyzed below the waist due to being shot by a racist who objected to Hustler featuring interracial couples.  Despite attacks from dried-up “feminists” like Gloria Steinem and prissy editorialization from bluenosed “journalists”, the fact is Flynt was a bona fide free speech hero, and not merely in his own mind as the WaPo’s pearl-clutching headline pretends.

Droit du Seigneur 

What did this guy think he was, a cop?

The Ohio Supreme Court suspended the law license of a [lawyer who]…was charged with human trafficking involving six women — most, former clients…Michael Mearan…say[s]…the allegations [a]re [a frame-up by cops using] testimony from [prisoners] who [were given] favorable treatment for co[lluding with cops]…Mearan…was [also a politician who sat on the]…Portsmouth…city council…he [is alleged to have] targeted women who were poor, addicted to drugs and facing criminal charges to take part in [what cops label] a prostitution ring during a 15-year-period beginning in 2003…

Thought Control

US institutions often need to be reminded that they do not own people:

…Kimberly Diei, a pharmacy graduate student [was expelled from] the University of Tennessee…[after] her posts on Twitter and Instagram were…[the subject of a poison pen accusation by] an anonymous [busybody]…She was given two days to appeal, and she scrambled to find a lawyer.  With the threat of a lawsuit looming, the dean of the college reversed the decision to expel her.  But the experience was so painful that…Diei filed a federal lawsuit with the help of a pro bono lawyer, arguing that the public university had violated her constitutional right of free expression “for no legitimate pedagogical reason”…universities are…fumbling to [extend campus censorship] policies…into the world of social media…And young people are fighting back, contending that their off-campus speech is no business of their school…the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear the case of a high school cheerleader in Pennsylvania who was removed from the junior varsity squad after she posted vulgar complaints about not making the varsity team…

Acting and Activism (#556)

Predictable ugliness from the “celebrity” prohibitionist trash who once called stripping a “gateway to slavery”:

Red Table Talk…[hosted by noted bigot] Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow…and mother…“Gammy”…tout[s] itself as a space where three generations of women can discuss various topics in a judgment-free environment…But…Ava Louise Lockner…[revealed that] the “open and honest” policy the show pushes is not what she experienced when she was set to be featured in an episode about being a sugar baby in the fall of 2019…she [was verbally] attacked during the several hours she spent at the Smiths’…home, [with] Pinkett Smith…rolling her eyes and Gammy…slut-shaming her throughout filming.  When the segment failed to air, Ava Louise spent weeks chasing up once-eager producers.  Finally, she…received a…call from a high-level executive on the show…[who] told her…they would not be airing her episode because…the hosts found her “gross and disgusting…they don’t want to be associated with sex work”…

Banishment (#870) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

Twenty states, the District of Columbia, and the federal government have laws that authorize civil commitment of [human beings arbitrarily branded] sex offenders…after serving their prison terms…The state punishes people…based on the [claim] that they could and should have controlled themselves.  But when it is time for them to be released after completing the punishment prescribed by law, the state says that was not actually true; now they must be locked up precisely because they can’t control themselves.  If the government decided to retroactively increase an offender’s penalty, it would be clearly unconstitutional…The trick is to cast continued confinement as treatment rather than punishment.  But…in Minnesota, only 13 [prisoners] have been unconditionally released since the program was established in 1994; more than six times as many have died in custody…the Supreme Court [says that’s okey-dokey]…Joe Morrissey…argues that Virginia’s [similar] program is “abhorrent”…[and] introduced a bill that would have abolished the program [but other politicians]…derailed [the] bill

Cooties (#884) 

UK cops are still shoehorning people into their public masturbatory fantasy of “pop-up brothels”:

Three men and a woman have been arrested for [consensual sex dysphemized as “]slavery[” in a raid on an apparent incall dysphemized as]…a “pop-up brothel”…Two [migrant] women…were [also arrested and]…are currently being [held pending deportation]…

“Safeguarded” is the UK euphemism for “held without trial or charge pending deportation”.  The term is Orwellian even in a field littered with such propaganda.

Torture Chamber (#1098) 

Stop faking!

An Alabama man [locked] in a prison mental health [cell] overheated and died in December after temperatures inside his cell topped 101 degrees Fahrenheit.  Tommy Lee Rutledge was found unresponsive in Donaldson [cage stack] on the night of Dec. 7, sitting near the window of his s[olitary-confinement] cell with his head “facing out the window,” in an apparent attempt to breathe cool air…his core body temperature [had] reached 109 degrees…[Screws refuse to explain] how temperatures inside the…cell skyrocketed past 100 degrees on a winter night with a low of 31 degrees…citing an “ongoing” investigation…

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